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Ducks are hiding all over Carnival and other cruise ships as thousands embrace new fad

Tribune News Service logo Tribune News Service 6/17/2019 By Ron Hurtibise, Sun Sentinel
a close up of a toy: Cruise ship travelers across the globe have created a new fad, and it's not on the cruise line's official itinerary. Cruisers are hiding toy ducks in the cracks and crevices of the giant ocean liners for other guests to find. What guests do if they find one is up to them. They can keep it. Or they can re-hide it for someone else to discover. (Timm Schamberger/Getty Images/TNS) *FOR USE WITH THIS STORY ONLY* © Timm Schamberger/Getty Images North America/TNS Cruise ship travelers across the globe have created a new fad, and it's not on the cruise line's official itinerary. Cruisers are hiding toy ducks in the cracks and crevices of the giant ocean liners for other guests to find. What guests do if they find one is up to them. They can keep it. Or they can re-hide it for someone else to discover. (Timm Schamberger/Getty Images/TNS) *FOR USE WITH THIS STORY ONLY*

Who says you have to compete in the hairy chest contest to enjoy a fun day at sea?

Cruise ship travelers across the globe have created a quazy new fad, and it’s not on your cruise line’s official itinerary.

Cruisers are hiding toy ducks in the cracks and crevices of the giant ocean liners for other guests to find.

What you do if you find one is up to you. You can keep it. Or you can re-hide it for someone else to discover.

But please do take a selfie with it and post it online, fans of the game urge.

According to a recent post on the website CruiseRadio.net, a 10-year-old girl named Abby from Liberty, Texas, kicked the fad into high gear about a year ago when she hid about 50 rubber ducks aboard Carnival Breeze.

Posts on cruise-focused websites say the fad began earlier. “It’s a silly game that supposedly started some years ago by a 10-year old girl who thought it would be fun to hide little rubber ducks around the ship for other kids to find,” a poster calling herself okgirl wrote last Nov. 9 on the site cruisecritic.com.

Now, numerous social media groups are devoted to the fad, including Cruising Ducks Facebook Page, set up by Abby’s dad, Ashley Davis, according to one of the group’s administrators, Amy Coon Tobey.

The group has 26,260 members and hundreds of photos of young cruisers posing with their finds on cruise ships all over the world.

The site includes a few guidelines: Attach or write on the duck the message: “Keep or hide. You decide, FB #CruisingDucks.”

Ducks shouldn’t be hidden in ship stores. “We don’t want to unintentionally think it is ever OK to take anything from inside a store,” the guidelines state.

Also, any post complaining about not being able to find a duck will be deleted.

Any kind of duck is fair game, Tobey said in an interview via Messenger text. “Plush, stuffed, key chains, clips, homemade, candy, you name it. And any type of animals. I even did a bunch of water Pokemon.”

Carnival Cruise Line’s official brand ambassador, John Heald, acknowledged the fad in a March Facebook post that included a poll asking respondents if they had found a duck on their cruises? Of 30,000 respondents, 19% answered “yes” and 81% said “no.”

Heald commented, “Well the ducks have certainly taken off and I love seeing people’s faces when they find one. They quack me up.”

But among the 2,000 comments under that post were several from cruisers not thrilled with the idea.

Weighing in on plans by a 74-member group to hide 15 dozen ducks on board a graduation cruise, one poster responded, “So you have no problem leaving plastic garbage all over the ship. Gotcha.”

Then another poster told the commenter to “Get a hobby. Pet a cat. Do something to get rid of your grouchiness.”

Back on cruisecritic.com, a poster said he’d throw away any duck he found “as I assume a steward or the person before me did not clean the room/public space.” He added, “I want to know all is clean so nothing breaks out such as noro (virus).”

And okgirl lamented, “Unfortunately, like so many other things adults have started taking it to the extreme. I read a post that one woman was going to take 60 on her next cruise … . That’s just ridiculous.”

But on Facebook, Gilda Mack Benton had a different take: “My first son was born with a congenital heart defect. My big 9 lb. fella lived 2 months,” she wrote. “An organization that supported me for years after, did so with these little rubber ducks. The joy I have when I see someone find one on a ship does the most for my heart. Makes me feel like he’s there, enjoying the cruise too. Sooooo, I love them!!”

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©2019 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

Visit the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) at www.sun-sentinel.com

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